Has there ever been a town that didn’t sit right with you, and you didn’t know why? Where you couldn’t explain why it felt so eerie?
In mid-August 2004, I went on a RA retreat with about twenty other people. The weekend was meant for relaxation and bonding before the school year started.
Traditionally, Summit Hall went to Deep Creek, MD. It was only one hour and thirty minutes away from Morgantown, WV. But, that year our boss Bob insisted on Pocahontas County, which was three hours away. My guard was up.
As soon as we passed the Welcome to Green Bank sign, there were no people. It was a very small town. Houses were miles apart alongside the road with one school, one grocery store (maybe a Piggly Wiggly), and a pizza shop next to it. Two cars sat in the entire parking lot.
Where was everyone? Our group took three vans; we did not see any cars ahead or in the back of us in our lane. No cars rode by on the other side. No one hung out in their yards. No pedestrians. Something didn’t add up to me.
I freaked out silently in the backseat. Small towns are typical locations for horror movies. House of Wax, Wrong Turn, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, anyone? I pictured the locals plotting against outsiders for stepping into their territory. If someone said “Go away”, I’d be headed for the next town to catch the Greyhound.
Bob needed directions to the campsite, so we stopped in the parking lot. No one went inside the grocery store with him. When he came back, we asked about the radio; it was nothing but static.
Bob said, “You can’t get any signals here. They use all their energy for a satellite dish that communicates with aliens.”
Say what now? He said it with a straight face, like it was normal. I knew we weren’t celebrities, but were we being punked? On candid camera? In the van, people joked that Bob was crazy, that he was scaring us before the campfire. But, I wanted to go home. I don’t play with stuff like that.
This campsite was secluded from the town (not that anyone was around anyway). Five cabins spread out with no electricity nor locked doors. A half mile back was a creek with a narrow bridge to cross. Once you crossed it, you entered an open field with a pit and bleachers in the center of it. To the left and right of us was nothing for miles and miles. Towards the back, only woods. Just great.
With only a few flashlights to share between twenty some people, we stayed in mini-groups. Of course, no one wanted to stay near the cabins and vans, in case we had to make a run for it. They wanted to hang out on the bleachers to be sitting ducks for whoever, whatever. I had to follow the light hee hee.
Nothing but absolute darkness. What was out there? For being outdoors, it was completely silent. Too silent. My mind played tricks on me due to boredom. I watched for bears, wolves, serial killers escaping from prison, mental patients escaping from a hospital nearby. Oh yeah, and aliens. Couldn’t forget the aliens.
If I’m scared, then I’ll try everything in my power to make you feel the same way. We’ll be scared together. I could not trust my own eyes; we all needed to be on the lookout for anything suspicious. We all needed our guard up.
We spent two nights and three days there. Green Bank-no interaction with people. Cass and Seneca State Forest-many tourists around. So once again, where was everyone in our town? I wanted to go back to the grocery store to see if there were many ‘missing person’ posters hanging on the wall. Or talk to the locals to see if they heard any rumors about alien abductions. Did the kids believe in it, or did they just laugh at the older people’s superstitions? To calm myself, I needed to find out some facts.
On our last day, Bob needed to prove he was right. We went to the museum that held the gigantic satellite dish. The parking lot had many tourists standing around. Or were they pod people? We were all shocked. No one had believed Bob’s tale, but the evidence was right in front of our faces. We walked the tour with everyone else.
Looking back now, the ghost town vibe makes sense. On Wikipedia, it says Green Bank’s population was 143 people in 2010. I can only imagine how low it was in 2004. This explains why we didn’t see anyone. There was no need for me to be scared. It would’ve helped though if we stayed in the busy part of town instead of being isolated. But, oh well.
Has anyone been to Green Bank, WV or lives there? Has anyone visited a town that spooked them, but they didn’t know why? Please share your comments….